After a busy month in June (so busy that I was literally only home for 6 days the whole month), July slowed down a bit. Well, it slowed down travel-wise – but I felt like I was busier than ever! This is mostly because I had lots of work to catch up on, but also partly because there's always lots to do in Ohio during the summer months.
July: The month in travel
Other than flying home from my time in Ireland and the UK, I spent the majority of July in Ohio. But that doesn't mean I wasn't busy! Check out the highlights:
- Countries visited: 2 – the UK and the USA
- Cities visited: London, England; Columbus, Ohio
- Flights taken: 2
- Trips up to Cleveland: 3
The best thing I ate: Elliot and I went to a restaurant called District in Cleveland before going to a show at Playhouse Square, where we had some delicious gnocchi and brisket. Plus, their cocktails are all named after songs from musicals, which earns them extra points in my book!
The most artsy thing I did: It's a toss-up between going to see Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art and finally getting to see Hamilton live! Both were super fun – I'm inspired to look into getting season tickets to the Broadway series at Playhouse Square for next year!
The most sporty thing I did: We happened to be in Columbus at the same time as the GK Classic, a major gymnastics competition for elite female gymnasts. I was a gymnast for 9 years when I was younger, and I still love the sport. And when I found out that Simone Biles (yes, THAT Simone Biles!) would be competing in her first full meet back since the Olympics, I knew we had to go. It was Elliot's first gymnastics meet, and we watched Simone win!
The most epic thing I did: I threw axes and held hawks on our weekend trip to Columbus! I'd say both are pretty darn epic. (And stay tuned, because I'll be writing more about them both soon in a blog post!)
July travel highlights
Coming home to Ohio! I began the month in London, but was home in Ohio by July 3. Just in time to catch 4th of July fireworks, go to an Irish festival, and enjoy some steamy, stormy summer weather. I tend to travel every summer, but am always glad to come home and enjoy some of the season in Ohio. Ohio does summer well, after all!
Spending a weekend in Columbus – Last weekend Elliot and I made the 2-hour drive down to Columbus, the capital city of Ohio. We had a “manly weekend” there, which included axe throwing, a distillery tour, a falconry class, and lots of good food. It was a great short break to take together.
July travel lowlights
Since I spent most of the month at home, I didn't have any travel lowlights in July! Stormy weather has changed a few weekend plans, but nothing to really complain about.
July on the blog
This month was a pretty good month blog-wise. Traffic was up, and since I wasn't traveling a ton I actually had time to create more content than in previous months.
July traffic: 192,648 unique visitors and 279,694 pageviews
Most popular post: Geeking Out on an Outlander Tour of Scotland with Highland Explorer Tours – Apparently I'm not the only Outlander fan out there! This post sums up the 3-day Outlander tour I went on with my mom and sister in Scotland back in June. It was a great way to see parts of Scotland I'd never visited before! (And it was one of TWO Outlander posts I wrote in July.)
Other posts published in July:
- 10 Days in Ireland: The Perfect Irish Road Trip Itinerary
- A Guide to the Most Unique Themed Afternoon Teas in London
- The Best Outlander Locations to Visit in Scotland
- An Enchanting Stay at Ballyseede Castle in Ireland
- Packing for Adventurous Summer Travel with Columbia
July on social media
Most popular Instagram post: This photo is of me in Cobh, Ireland, but it's really the caption that I think helped make this post so popular. In it, I addressed the rise of the “Instagram travel girl,” and talked about images on social media and how I kind of hate how judgy people have gotten about them.
I'd like to talk travel images today. I'm curious about what sorts of images you guys like to see on social media. There have been several discussions lately surrounding the “travel fashion girls” who have begun to take over the travel space on many social platforms. You know, the ones who strike perfect poses in pretty clothing, using beautiful locations as backdrops. A lot of people I know take issue with these sorts of images, arguing that they take the focus away from the destination, and make it difficult to share anything meaningful about different cultures or important issues on platforms like Instagram. I guess I can understand that opinion, but I can also name a bunch of travel influencers who have figured out a way to meld fashion and travel in a way that's still very meaningful. I'll never be a model, nor do I have the patience to set up full-on photoshoots when I travel, so I'm never going to be competing with these types of influencers. But I also don't know if it's fair to suggest that the girls who take photos in flowy dresses and hats all around the world are any less worthy of the designation of “traveler.” There's no “right” way to travel, after all. Having said that, I DO definitely feel the pressure to create more imagery on social media that's “inspirational” in this way. I've started sharing more photos of myself on Instagram – and yes, sometimes I even wear a dress! I'm still true to who I am as a traveler, though, and the messages I share about the places I visit are the same. But to some, I suppose that's me “giving in” to what Instagram seems to be encouraging. So my question to you is… what sort of images do you seek out on social media? What kind of images jump out at you, speak to you, and – most importantly – inspire you? (And there's no right or wrong answer here – if you like those photos with a girl in a pretty dress, or a hiker looking off towards an epic mountain, that's totally cool!)
Most popular Facebook post: You guys seemed to love my afternoon tea post almost as much as I did!
July business update
July was a great month income-wise. A few extra projects combined with a couple more affiliate payments than usual (some were late from last month) meant my biggest income month ever!
- Advertising: $4,543.16
- Affiliate marketing: $4,637.97
- Paid campaigns: $2,748.16
- Other: $159.45
(Note that this is my income before deductions and taxes – and considering that I paid for a polar bear viewing trip this month, I had some big expenses in July!)
My new website is finally here!! If you haven't stopped by in the last couple of weeks, you'll be looking at a brand new website design! This has been a work in progress for a few months with the dev team over at Performance Foundry, but I'd say the wait was worth it. I'm in love with this new design!
Hitting 5 figures in income – This is the first time since I've been self-employed that I've comfortably surpassed the 5-figure mark in income! Of course, after you subtract travel and business expenses (and taxes, ew), my actual profit doesn't exceed 5 figures… but still! Hopefully this is something I can start hitting consistently!
Other than the never-ending struggle that is reaching people on social media, I didn't have any major lows this month.
Upcoming in August
Iceland and Greenland with Dad – After my tours to Iceland and Greenland got canceled (and after I wallowed for a while about being a failure), I decided that I still wanted to take my dad to both places. So I found a tour company that could help us organize the Greenland part, found cheap (and direct!) flights to Iceland from Cleveland, and booked everything. We head to Iceland towards the end of this month, jump over to Ilulissat in Greenland for 4 nights, and then return to Iceland for another 4 nights. I'm excited to visit Greenland, and to finally experience Iceland in the summer months!
And remember that you can follow along in real-time with all of these adventures through my IG Stories on Instagram!